Hong Kong police to get awards for security work during visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping
Insider says at least 10 officers and units to be recognised in December
At least 10 senior police officers and two units involved in guarding President Xi Jinping during his visit to Hong Kong this summer will get a top honour for their efforts from the city’s police chief.
Among them will be the force’s marine officers, who have been hailed as unsung heroes.
Xi began his three-day trip on June 29. He visited to inaugurate the city’s new administration on the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese sovereignty.
The visit prompted an unprecedented security blanket across the city. Police mobilised 11,000 officers – more than a third of the force’s manpower – to guard Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan.
Apart from providing the couple with personal protection, officers were sent to observation posts along the official motorcade route to stop protesters from getting near.
A force insider said 10 officers, ranging in rank from chief inspector to chief superintendent, would be given the coloured whistle lanyard – a commendation by Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung for their “outstanding work”.
“The 10 officers come from a wide range of divisions including operational units from police headquarters and Wan Chai district,” the insider said. “Xi’s activities mainly centred on those areas during the visit.”
Also to be commended was a senior officer from the search unit, a specialist squad tasked with scouring underground pipes, tunnels, wells and other areas to search for weapons, bombs and signs of danger.
And the Police Public Relations Branch, which was responsible for publicity work and setting up a training centre for a force youth group in Pat Heung, which Xi toured during the trip, is to receive a wooden shield from the police chief.
The force’s small boat division will get the same honour for its “devotion to duty” of an “exceptionally high order”. The award recognises the unit’s planning and execution of a series of operations not only relating to Xi’s visit but also those of the leaders of Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan between April and May.
“The unit is an unsung hero,” the insider said. “When Xi’s motorcade and those of other VIPs crossed the Tsing Ma Bridge, the unit was actually looking after security at sea. Not many people noticed their work.”
The insider added that marine police boats conducted 24-hour patrols of Victoria Harbour throughout the Chinese president’s time in the city.
The source said the force was still finalising its commendations honouring officers and units for their efforts during the visit. The award ceremony was expected to take place at police headquarters in December.
While in Hong Kong, Xi spoke with members of the Junior Police Call, a training group that provides discipline, physical training and team building for young people. He urged them to obey the law, choose a proper path to serve society, and contribute to both city and country.